Posted BY: Charlotte Cushman
Those who have voiced concerns about the dangers that drag events, such as Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH), pose for children (namely, sexualization and grooming) have been told that those concerns are baseless, that the events are harmless, that it is all just entertainment and fun, and that attending drag events is a way to understand the gay culture.
On January 25, 2021, an academic paper entitled Drag Pedagogy: the Playful Practice of Queer Imagination in Early Childhood,” was published online in Curriculum Inquiry, an educational journal. The paper, recently called out by James Lindsay here and here and also by Christopher Rufo here, was written by Harper Keenen and Lil Miss Hot Mess (a founder of DQSH), who describe themselves as “a genderqueer drag performer/scholar and a trans scholar” (p.443).
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Right off the bat, the abstract tells us the purpose of DQSH:
Ultimately, the authors propose that “drag pedagogy” provides a performative approach to queer pedagogy that is not simply about LGBT lives, but living queerly. (p. 440)
Then the authors state,
Through this programme, drag artists … [are] positioning queer and trans cultural forms as valuable components of early childhood education. We are guided by the following question: what might Drag Queen Story Hour offer educators as a way of bringing queer ways of knowing and being into the education of young children?